Janitors @ Gumballers –
- Teams met once in the regular the season with the Gumballers winning 2-0 without ace Jeff Nitto. The Janitors did get 7 hits so we assume there was some bad luck / terrible base running involved.
- Speaking of Nitto, he’s the pitcher best equipped to thrive in what has been a very hitter friendly season. His low release point allows him to throw 35, get 27mph reads and keep the ball low on days when pop flies are soaring out of the park.
- Janitors should have Kevin Higman back but who knows how the lineups will be deployed, Kirby has made some questionable calls in the past. Benching Higman for anyone else on this team qualifies as a questionable call.
- Rumor has the Gumballers rolling out a three man lineup and unfortunately for everyone else it includes Nitto and Don McLintock. He’s always a tough out, just ask anyone who has played them in a close game.
For the Janitors to win – Nitto needs to get tossed early while Fernandez pitches complete games as Higman regains his MVP form at the plate and in the field. They scatter the Gumballers hits, make them work for runs and win low scoring games.
For the Gumballers to win – Nitto deals as he has been all season and frustrates the Janitors lineup. Limit any damage to Higman and hit on par with their season numbers. Get in Fernandez’s head (don’t stay there, it appears to be a weird place) and be patient.
Verdict – Gumballers in two. In a shootout, the Gumballers three man lineup can produce runs. In low scoring games, they have the far superior pitcher. If the series grinds to a third close game the Janitors are far more likely to make a bad play. It’s just tough to see where the Janitors have a true advantage over three games. Then again, it is the playoffs and it is the Gumballers.
Canvassers @ Moose Knuckles –
- Teams met once with the Canvassers taking it 5-3, scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the 5th. Expect more close games.
- Moose Knuckles absolutely need Gagnon to be at his best against his former fling of a team. His ERA is there but his supporting offense has been even worse than in past years.
- Canvassers have the best offensive stats south of the Barnburners but their pitching has been inconsistent. Come playoffs, this matters a lot more. But are the Knuckles equipped to take advantage?
For the Moose Knuckles to win – Pretty simple. Gagnon holds them to 3 or fewer, stays in the game and they scrape together 3-4 runs. Flowers needs to show up and the Canvassers bottom of the order hits more they like have for years.
For the Canvassers – Put up 5 in a game and you’ve got think this is theirs. Knuckles have scored 5 runs twice this year and aren’t bringing in one of the Shannons as a ringer this time around.
Verdict – This a terrible matchup for the Moose Knuckles to have to win a series, they’d be far better suited playing either the Janitors or Gumballers. If Flowers shows, this goes the distance with the Canvassers taking it in a close one. We wouldn’t be shocked to see the Moose Knuckles take a do or die game but think the Canvassers bats will be the difference.